Wednesday, April 13, 2016

WHEN JESUS SHOWS UP

In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden god in Babylon and demanded that it be worshiped. Every official, leader and citizen in over one hundred provinces in Babylon had to fall down before this god or face death. There were but two choices: bow or burn. If anyone refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, they would be roasted alive in huge ovens.

After the decree was issued, three devout young Jews in the kingdom refused to bow. In a rage, Nebuchadnezzar had them dragged before him and demanded to know: “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” (Daniel 3:15). Here was their answer: “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).

The response of the demon-gripped king was predictable: “Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury . . . and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated” (Daniel 3:19). This was purely demonic hatred against Jehovah God. The truth is, all who stand for Christ can expect to encounter such rage. Their obedience always stirs up the rage of those who take directions from Satan.

So, what was the outcome? Whose God prevailed in Babylon? In the midst of this contest, Jesus Himself manifested His glory and power. When King Nebuchadnezzar peered into the red-hot oven, he was shocked at what he saw. He cried: “We threw three men into the furnace, but now I see four men. They’re walking around in the fire, and they’re not being burned. In fact, they act as if the roaring flames are nothing. And the fourth Man has the appearance of the Son of God!” (Daniel 3:25, my paraphrase).

When Jesus shows up, His enemies have to cower before Him.